Chris Reed stays at The Rees Lakeside Residences, the Rees Hotel, in Queenstown.
By plane and helicopter and fancy car. We flew to Queenstown then transferred straight to a helicopter for a wine-tasting tour organised by the hotel then got picked up from our final winery.
Check-in experience: Receptions are for losers. Straight to the Residence in the fancy car.
Room: Rooms if you please, and several of them. There are five Residences, all 164sq m, 2-storey, 3 bedroom, 3.5-bathroom executive homes with a large open plan kitchen/living area and balcony upstairs, and a garage, laundry and hot tub downstairs.
Price: You get what you pay for so on December 4, for example, the cost was $2650. The week after New Year the cost rises to $3950.
What's so good about this place? You get what you pay for — so everything. Great location, fantastic staff, good-looking restaurant (so good it was full the night we stayed), awesome amenities and lovely little touches like the personalised gift awaiting every guest when they arrive. If it's not on-site, I have no doubt they can sort it for you.
And the bad? Erm, I didn't like the colour of the yoga mats in the huge walk-in wardrobe?
I couldn't work out how to turn down the underfloor heating? The Doobie Brothers had weird hair in the signed photo outside the restaurant? The driveway to the residences from reception is steep BUT THEY'LL COME AND GET YOU IN A CAR IF YOU WANT.
Seriously, it's as close to flawless as you can get in a big, modern hotel operation.
What's in the neighbourhood? You're a few minutes out of town, but there are free shuttles to all the bars, shops and tourist traps you can shake a credit card at. If you're stuck, just contact your "Luxury Travel Curator". From the moment you check availability, they say, "your personal curator will be with you every step of the way, to ensure your New Zealand experience is designed specially to suit your needs and exceed your expectations".
Toiletries: Feel my smooth, clean, scented face.
Food and drink: Where to start. The package included fresh bread in the breadmaker (and the accompanying aroma) on arrival, "gourmet breakfast provisions" in the fridge (salmon, strawberries, cheese, etc), a top shelf take on My Food Bag so you could cook a dish created by the executive chef, a basket of fresh bread and pastries on the doorstep in the morning, a proper coffee machine. There was lots of other stuff that wasn't included but right there when you wanted it, including craft beer and a wine fridge long on local names.
The bed: We were in the master suite and the bed was bigger than my car. I barely had enough digits to count the number of pillows.
A room with a view? Only if you count the waters of Lake Wakatipu and the craggy majesty of the Remarkables range. If you don't you're dead inside.
Bathroom: Which one? The one in the master was like a big warm igloo full of fluffy white towels.
Free Wi-Fi? Um, what do you think?
Noise: The gentle splash of the lake, the sussuration of the breeze and the demented whoops of excitement as we discovered something else to eat/drink/luxuriate in.
Room service: Nah, we're sorted thanks.
Value for money: Well, it costs a lot but this is some serious top-end action. There's heaps of room for three couples or a family celebration if you want to bring down the price.
Exercise facilities: The hotel has a gym, standard bikes and e-bikes. You could arrange a personal trainer, use the yoga mats or go for a walk beside the lake. Or you could do none of those things and save them for when you're wrenched back to reality.
Perfect for: A very special occasion.
The bottomline: They say the residences offer seclusion and privacy in a magical setting. They're right.